Williamsport probes brawl that mars District I’s 9-6, 10-inning win over Pa.

Delaware State News/Marc Clery

 

DOVER — There’s no question that District I showed some toughness on Tuesday.

The Kent County all-stars twice squandered leads only to come back and pull out a 9-6, 10-inning victory over Pennsylvania in the Big League baseball East Regional.

The hard-earned victory lasted almost four hours on the hot afternoon but earned District I a tentative ticket to today’s East championship game.
“It just shows how big our heart is, you know what I mean?” center fielder Quinton Ivy said about Tuesday’s win.

As things stood after the contest, the finals will be played at 6 p.m. today at Dover Little League with the champion advancing to the Big League World Series in Easley, S.C. As the only unbeaten squad left, District I (3-0) would have to lose twice to be eliminated.

However, late Tuesday evening, officials at Little League headquarters in Williamsport, Pa. were looking into a fight that occurred in the top of the 10th inning in the District I-Pennsylvania matchup.

Because of that investigation, Pennsylvania did not play its losers’ bracket finals game with New Jersey on Tuesday night.

With the contest tied at 6-6, District I catcher Cody Cole was caught in a rundown between third and home on a groundball. Cole finally ran over Pennsylvania’s catcher at home with no attempt to slide.

One of Pennsylvania’s players confronted Cole, who started throwing punches. More players and coaches from both sides rushed to home plate with officials finally breaking up the fight.

The umpires and tournament officials conferred for a while on the field and Dover police officers arrived to keep an eye on the situation. There were also some angry words exchanged between parents from both sides while New Jersey’s coaches, whose team was waiting to play the next game, told officials they thought both squads should have to forfeit for leaving their dugouts during a fight.

In the end, only Cole was ejected, leaving him suspended for today’s finals.

“It got a little out of hand,” said District I manager L.B. Stubbs. “The boys, they battled through adversity and came out on top.”

The Kent County players were apparently upset that a Pennsylvania player, Tyler Mankey, ran headfirst into Cole on a play at the plate in the fifth inning. Mankey was not ejected.

District I was also upset that no Pennsylvania team members were ejected for their part in the fight.

Pennsylvania manager Tory Shimp, on the other hand, said he saw at least one other District I team member throwing punches during the brawl. He thought more Kent County team members should have been thrown out.

“I absolutely, 100 percent, thought they got a lot of breaks given to them,” said Shimp. “They started the fight, they threw all the punches in the fight and only one kid was thrown out.

“I get it, it’s their tournament. It’s just a shame.”

Tournament director Tim Warren said, under the circumstances, officials did the best they could in trying to sort things out.

“The people outside (the fence) — the parents and the fans — aggravated the situation drastically,” he said. “We saw what initiated it and we dealt
with that. Beyond that, nobody could be specific about anything else.”

When the game finally resumed after a half-hour delay, the contest was still tied and Kent County had runners on first and third with two out. That’s when Camden-Wyoming’s Ivy smacked a two-run double into the rightfield corner to give District I the lead for good.

Felton-Harrington’s Tyler Collins then followed with an RBI double that scored Ivy to give Kent County its 9-6 advantage.

Needless to say, there was plenty of adrenaline going for District I’s players when the game started back up.

“That’s what I love about this team, we’re hard-nosed,” said shortstop Tommy Jordan from Milford. “We’re not going to go down without a fight.

“We didn’t want to end up in a fight,” he added quickly. “But we’re not going to give up and let people decide our fate. We’re going to go out and make our own fate.

“The ‘want’ to win after that (fight) was crazy,” said Jordan. “I’m sure everyone on the team wanted that at-bat that Quinton got to have. That was a big-time hit. He came up clutch for us there.”

“I wanted to put the ball in play hard,” said Ivy.

Reliever Louis Whitaker, from Felton-Harrington, entered the game in the bottom of the 10th and shut out Pennsylvania while giving up only a single.

That was big considering what happened in the ninth.

With the game tied at 4-4 since the fifth, District I scored twice in the top of the ninth to grab a 6-4 advantage. Jordan, who doubled, and Ivy, who was intentionally walked, both came around to score on sacrifice flies from Collins and Cole Gary.

But Pennsylvania tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Kent County actually did well to surrender only two runs after Pennsylvania loaded the bases with nobody out.

District I had jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring three runs in the third. Collins had a big two-run single with Gary bringing home the last run on a groundball.

Jordan Simpson, Jordan and Ivy all scored in the inning.

Ivy also brought in Jordan with a first-inning run on an RBI double.

Pennsylvania, though, overcame that deficit with three runs in the third before tying the score with a run in the fifth.

Of course, by the time the dust finally settled, most of that action seemed like a distant memory. After everything that happened, District I was glad it didn’t have to play in a late elimination game on Tuesday night.

“This game here was such an emotional game,” said Stubbs, from Felton-Harrington. “It took a lot out of us. It’d be hard to come back and play again tonight. It’s good that we got that win, we got a little bit of time off and we can come back tomorrow and try to win that championship.

“Everybody, that’s what they want to do, they want to get to the World Series. It’s been a dream of theirs ever since they were 12 years old watching the kids on ESPN.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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